Tommy Skakel was the last person known to see Martha alive. It was on his family's property that he last saw her and the police were aware of this BEFORE her body had been found. Once she had been found a match to the murder weapon was spotted in his home. Tommy Skakel was, and in my opinion remains, a viable suspect in the murder of Martha Moxley.
There was a documented violent sibling rivalry between Tommy and Mike which offers up a possible motive for this murder. Of all the suspects in this crime, it is only these two brothers where motive can be established. Both brothers were interested in Martha, a point that Tommy seemed intent on hiding. He tells police that Martha was Michael's friend and that he himself, had only met her a few times. So what does this mean? According to Dorthy Moxley, she opined that within a week or so of Martha's death, she had met the boys. She determined this after reading her daughter's diary where she had only recently began writing about them. If this is the case, then Tommy knew Martha about as long and as well as Michael did.
On the other hand, It is also possible that Mike had known her longer. They were the same age and he was clearly taken with her. The fact that she did not mention him in her diary only means she may not have been as taken with Michael as he was with her. Could this be what led to her death?
The fact that Tommy denied any attraction to Martha in the Sutton investigation is highly suspect. Martha was a beautiful young girl and considered to be the "life of the party". In her own diary Martha mentions that Tommy had been trying to get to first and second base with her and that she felt she needed to be careful of him. This does not sound like a boy who lacked any attraction to her.
These statements become even more troublesome when we consider the new version of the last time Tommy saw Martha. Initially, he told police that he saw Martha last at his back door at 9:30 as he was heading in to do a homework assignment. An assignment, police soon discovered, never existed. In his Sutton interview, Tommy tells investigators that at 9:30 when the others left, he and Martha entered into a sexual encounter. During this exchange, both of them reached orgasm. Why would Tommy venture off his old story? His new version makes himself more suspect than his previous one. Did he fear something? Did he think or know that someone heard or saw him doing something with Martha?
Placing himself in a sexual situation with Martha changes the entire flavor of his contact with her and also casts suspicion on his previous statements. How could he now feign a lack of attraction for her when he readily admits being sexually involved with her? We can argue the semantics here that at 17 a hormonal boy could have sex with a watermelon and not be attracted to it, but I think it is safe to say that he was indeed attracted to Martha Moxley.
Whenever a person gives false statements to the police, we wonder what their motivation was to lie? Why did Tommy lie? Why did he manufacture a homework assignment that never existed and could easily be verified? Exactly when and why did he concoct this story of his?
During the early hours of October 31th, Dorthy Moxley phoned around attempting to locate Martha. Through these calls she learned that Martha was last seen with Tommy Skakel at 9:30 at his back door. She further learned that he had gone inside to do his homework. It seems by then, this story of his had already been defined, but why? If this was false, as his later story implies, why did he already have this fraudulent story worked out? At this time Martha's body had yet to be found, so unless he already knew what had happened to her and what time it had happened, why would he tell Mrs Moxley this 9:30 time? It is understandable that he would not wish to tell her he last saw her after they had sex together, if that indeed did happen, but why lie about the time unless he knew he had to? This is extremely incriminating. Why not say he last saw her at 9:50. Better yet, round it up to 10:00? Why was Tommy so careful to not place himself with Martha around the 10:00 timeframe? As it turns out, the police theorized that the time of the assault was around 10:00. They determined this by barking dogs and a commotion Nanny Sweeney also heard outside that evening when she asked Ken Littleton to "go check on the boys".
How could Tommy possibly know before Martha's body was found, that he needed to distance himself from the magical hour of 10:00? Just what information was Tommy Skakel privy to? Did he know that Martha was attacked at this time? How did he know this? Did he kill her himself or witness her murder? After the murder but BEFORE Dorthy Moxley called did someone inform him that Martha was killed at 10:00..
Another curious thing is why he admits to the sexual encounter. Why would he NOW do this? His story was already on the record, nobody to date had come forward claiming anything different. Did he know or fear that someone did see him that night? Did the screams that Steven Skakel heard that were later changed to "laughs" turn out to be more than that? Over the years did Steven tell him he saw more that evening? Was Tommy fearful that now that they were all adults and parents themselves, the truth might come out? Probably not. There may have been another reason that Tommy confessed to having a sexual encounter with Martha and it had nothing to do with being seen.
In 1993, Dr Henry Lee, renowned DNA and forensics expert was asked to look over the evidence in the Moxley case, which included the items of clothing that Martha wore the night she was killed. Lee compiled a six inch thick crime reenactment and opinion on the Moxley murder scene. Might Tommy have been fearful that trace evidence other than hair and or fibers would be found on her clothing? Perhaps semen? Might he have also feared that an exhumation may have been in the works? Exhumations are not something that are generally done unless the cause of death is not known, the victim in the grave's identity is not certain or paternity reasons. In Martha's case, none of this applied. But to a laymen who perhaps had held on to some deep dark secrets, the fear that this may happen and what might be found out, might be frightening enough to make a person account for any evidence they feared might be found.
In 1993 DNA testing and forensics in general, was not something the general public had a great understanding of. What the experts could find in evaluating the Moxley case was open to much speculation. DNA typing and forensic reconstruction was new. The average laymen certainly was not aware of what could and could not be realized through this latest technology. It was being heralded as the next best thing to being there, and amazing feats were being widely reported. Could the possibility that some form of DNA found by Lee and his research team, make someone fearing evidence being uncovered which would implicate themself, jump the gun and quickly fess up to a sexual encounter, which may or may not have been a mutually consenting event?
The DNA work done on this case is clearly the motivating factor in both Skakel boys changing their stories. There is no other realistic explanation for this. To date no one has come forward saying that they witnessed this crime. Why then would either of these boys risk the scrutiny they would receive in changing their stories? It had to be HUGE for them to make this decision. In 1993, DNA was HUGE..
Also worthy of mention here, Tommy Skakel was given a string of polygraph tests. Three of them he was given consecutively in which he did not pass. Another one was set up at a later date in which he passed. One must question the validity of polygraphs in general when considering the results of Tommy Skakel's tests. He admittedly was not truthful to the police in 1975, yet he managed to pass at least one of these tests. How is this possible? Dorthy Moxley did not pass the polygraph she was given, so it does make the test results of all the suspects in this case, open to speculation.
Why was Tommy Skakel not considered a strong suspect the very day Martha's body was found and the murder weapon had already been linked to the Skakel home? In the very least, would it not have been a good idea to rope off the Skakel property and treat it as a separate crime scene as Mark Fuhrman opines in "Murder in Greewich"? Could there have been further trace evidence on the Skakel property that may have provided further clues as to the killers identity? Suspect or not, the Skakel property was an extension of the crime scene as the murder weapon came from there. Obviously, someone had to go onto the property to retrieve it. The very fact that this person was on the spot to grab Martha on her trip back home suggests he was lurking in the darkness somewhere on the property watching what was happening with Martha and Tommy. The fact that Tommy heard nothing while walking back to his home that night is also a bit strange. It is believed that Martha recieved a punch in the face as the inital blow. Certainly she would have yelled out, while she still was able to. Why didn't Skakel hear anything?
In January of 1976 Rushton Skakel gave permission for the Greenwich police to obtains copies of Tommy's medical and school records. Mr Skakel had had a meeting with Chris Roosevelt, attorney for the private school Tommy had attended. Together with the headmaster and another attorney he was strongly advised not to allow the police access to these records. Rush Skakel quickly went to the police station to recant his permission for the release of these documents. What could possibly have been in these records that could have been so troublesome?
Moments after his trip to the police station, Rushton Skakel along with his attorney went to the home of Mildred (Cissy) Ix. During this visit, Rushton complained of chest pains, an ambulance was called and he was taken to the hospital. When asked by the doctors what had happened, he claimed to have received bad news over the phone. While in the hospital, police attempted to interview Mr Skakel. He advised them that he had hired Stamford criminal defense attorney Emmanuel Margolis to oversee Tommy's best interests in this case. Since that time, the Greenwich police have not had access to Tommy Skakel for further questioning.
Today, Tommy Skakel lives an unremarkable life in Stockbridge, Massachusetts with his wife and daughters. It seems that for Tommy, the passage of time has resulted in finding a comfortable niche in life for him and his family in Rockwell's storybook town.
Tommy Skakel matches the profile of Martha's killer.